Announced Tuesday, Pope Francis' appointments to the International Theological Commission include a greater number of women than before, and come from more diverse locales, vocations, and charisms. “Women now constitute 16 percent of the Commission’s members, a sign of growing female involvement in theological research,” noted a Sept. 23 statement from the commission. “In 2014 it was also decided to further diversify the ecclesial provenance of the members, in relation to their religious status and the particular charisms they represent.” The group also stated that “there is an increased number of extra-European appointees in the new composition of the Commission,” highlighting that the numbers from Europe, Asia, and Australia were static, while there were increases in the members from South America, Africa, and North America. The International Theological Commission is an advisory body which assists the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith in examining questions of doctrine, and members are nominated for five-year terms. The members are theologians “eminent for their scientific excellence and fidelity to the Magisterium of the Church”; they were chosen by the Pope after receiving a list of candidates from the prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, who had consulted with the world's bishops, both from the Roman and the Eastern Catholic Churches. The commission was established in 1969 by Paul VI, and has published 27 documents; among them are “Propositions on the Doctrine of Christian Marriage — Christological Theses on the Sacrament of Marriage,” “The Hope of Salvation for Infants Who Die without Being Baptized,” and, most recently, “Sensus fidei in the life of the Church.” It was also announced that the commission has recently renovated and enriched its webpage, where “all the documents published by the Commission are available for consultation, usually in ten or more languages.” “It is hoped that this new and easier to use page will be a useful tool for stimulating dialogue by enabling an increasingly effective communication of the Commission's theological patrimony both within and beyond the Church,” the International Theological Commission stated. Fr. Serge Bonino, O.P., who is French, is secretary general of the commission for the 2014-2019 term. The North American appointees are: Sr. Prudence Allen, R.S.M., who has authored the multi-volume work “The Concept of Woman”; Fr. Mario Flores Ramos, rector of the Pontifical University of Mexico and a close collaborator of Cardinal Norberto Rivera Carrera; Moira McQueen of Canada; and Fr. Thomas Weinandy, O.F.M. Cap., who until recently was executive director of the U.S. bishops' secretariat of doctrine and canonical affairs. African appointees are: Fr. Terwase Akaabiam of Nigeria; Fr. Koffi Kpogo of Togo; and Fr. Nicholaus Segeja M'hela of Tanzania. Appointees from Europe are: Sr. Alenka Arko, Loyola Community, from Russia; Msgr. Piero Coda of Italy; Fr. Lajos Dolhai of Hungary; Fr. Peter Dubovsky, S.J., of Slovakia; Fr. Kryzsztof Gozdz of Poland; Fr. Karl-Heinz Menke of Germany, a professor of dogmatic theology greatly esteemed by Benedict XVI; Fr. Bernard Pottier, S.J., of Belgium; Fr. Javier Prades Lopez, an expert in the personalism of St. John Paul II and president of Spain's Pontifical Ecclesiastic University of San Damaso; Marianne Schlosser of Austria; Fr. Pierangelo Sequeri of Italy; Fr. Zeljko Tanjic of Croatia; Fr. Gabino Uribarri Bilbao, S.I., of Spain; and Fr. Philippe Vallian of France. Those appointed from South America are: Msgr. Antonio Luiz Catelan Ferriera of Brazil; Fr. Carlos Galli of Argentina; Fr. Oswaldo Martinez Mendoza of Colombia; and Gustavo Sanchez Rojas, S.C.V, of Peru. The members of the commission from Asia are: Fr. Gaby Hachem of Lebanon; Fr. Thomas Kollamparampil, C.M.I., of India; Fr. John Park Jun-yang of Korea; and Fr. Gerard Timoner III, O.P., of the Philippines. The lone Australian member of the International Theological Commission is Tracey Rowland, a dean at the John Paul II Institute in Melbourne, who has authored such works as “Ratzinger's Faith: The Theology of Pope Benedict XVI,” which includes a foreword by Cardinal George Pell.
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